The Year of Letting Go
By Tiffany Mangum Cooke on January 06, 2012
Featured Member Post
This is my year of letting go. Last year I tried unsuccessfully to bring balance to my life. Holding tighter and fighting harder was not enough. It is finally time to let go instead. I am afraid. Holding on gave me a false sense of control, but it kept me from the abyss. Letting go means I have to face things I have run from for years. Balance seems insignificant in comparison to my panic writing these words, but fear is one of the things I need to let go.
To ease the fear of losing control, I will focus on one aspect of letting go each month. Someone told me that anything you could do for a month would be yours. January is the month of letting go of my need to say yes.
This need has been with me for thirty years. I vividly remember the moment it began. I was filled with rage at the hand I was dealt. I was in danger of being the statistic of a murderous teen who kills her family. After another fight, I stood on the stairs and told myself it was my fault. If I was only nicer, kinder, better, (you get the idea), they wouldn't have to do this to me. It gave me a sense of control. I could stop this. All I needed to do was become perfect and it would stop. I became the "perfect" child. I did anything and everything for everyone in hopes it would finally be enough.
But what helps us survive keeps us from thriving when we no longer need to survive. After twenty years my body finally revolted. I got Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It wasn't enough to change me. On bad days, I worked just as hard so no one could say I used my illness as an excuse. On good days, I worked twice as hard because it was such a relief to be able to feel semi-normal for a change. I cheated my family. There were so many things I gave up with them so I could show everyone else how great I was doing. I knew they would love me anyway and they did. I did a lot of damage to them that I need to repair now.
As the new year begins, I will stop saying yes to everything. I will leave space in my life for the people and causes that truly matter to me. I'll have lots of anxiety and guilt and fear as I begin, but that's okay. I have a whole year to practice letting go of those things, too.
Credit Image: treelight via Shutterstock
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